Filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh dies of cardiac arrest

Zee Media Bureau

Kolkata: Multiple National Award winner Rituparno Ghosh passed away in his Kolkata residence Thursday morning. The filmmaker suffered a massive cardiac arrest. He was 49.

Ghosh was suffering from pancreatitis, his colleague Gautam Ghosh said.

Shocked colleagues and friends gathered at the home of the much awarded filmmaker as news of the death spread.

Ghosh made 19 films and won 12 National Awards.

He began his film career with 'Hirer Angti' (The diamond ring) in 1994. He made ‘Unishe April’ in the same year that went on to win the National Film Award for Best Feature Film.

Ghosh is credited for helming critically acclaimed and National award-winning films like ‘Dahan’, ‘Utsab’, ‘Dosor’, ‘The Last Lear’,’Shob Charitro Kalponik’ and ‘Abohoman’.

The very talented filmmaker had teamed up with Aishwarya Rai for ‘Chokher Bali’ and ‘Raincoat’. ‘Chokher Bali’ that also starred Prosenjit and Raima Sen won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali while ‘Raincoat’ featuring Ajay Devgn won National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.

In September last year, Ghosh had expressed his take on India’s official entry to the Oscars. He lamented how regional cinema, including his own, was ignored for such honours.

Ghosh was adjudged the `big director of decade` by the public in the `Big Bangla Movie Awards 2010`.

Thanking the audience for the award at a programme, Ghosh said he was touched to hear that the choice was unanimous.

Rituparno lived his life on his terms and was frank about his sexual orientation.

He had won the Special Jury award at the National Film Awards for ‘Chitrangada’, a film based on the story of Chitrangada from the Mahabharat, who struggles with his sexual identity. While accepting the award, he said, "This award has been given to non-conventional sexuality. People in India had started accepting it at their individual level but this award to the subject is from the government's side. So it is a signal that they are accepting it."

The two biggest artistic and cultural influences on him came from Rabindranath Tagore, who has been an abiding influence on all Bengalis and whose transitions from the male into the female voice have never struck a discordant note, and Satyajit Ray.

"If somebody had influenced me to become a filmmaker, it was Ray. He set a masculine prototype for film directors. People were proud of his height and his English. People (like me) who wear danglers and kajol to parties (were regarded) as an insult to Ray," Ghosh said in an interview.

Talking exclusively to Zee Media, veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal said, “Rituparno followed the legacy initiated by stalwarts like Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen. He had a high sense of aesthetic and had a great ability of tell stories and handle actors. There is hardly any flaw in his kind of filmmaking. His passing away is a huge loss to the film industry.”

Rituparno was working on 'Satyanweshi', a film on Byomkesh Bakshi.

May his soul rest in peace.